Victor asks if the trust is being ripped-off?

Published: Sunday, 01 May 2022

HAVING just learnt that the Daw End Canal is being closed for all of eight months to reconstruct a bridge I can't help but ask if the trust is being ripped off?

BlackCockBridgeSurely it doesn't take eight months to reconstruct a bridge? Black Cock Bridge doesn't seem at all complicated to rebuild.

(Daw End Canal is a handy arm that connects with the Tame Valley, Wyrley & Essington, and Rushall canals to form a ring North West of Birmingham.)

And this is just one of the now normal long-winded efforts taken by contractors to repair even simple jobs—the five days for the two strips and a bit of clearing-up on the Leicester Section lock springs to mind, and with five days often the time for jobs that took a day or two under British Waterways, something is definitely not right.

Doesn't the trust ever contest those long jobs?  Take the breach on the Aire & Calder that the contractors working on behalf of the trust charged a cool £3m to repair.

AireLastThis breach (pictured) contractors calculated needed 350 tonnes of aggregate and 170 tonnes of clay with the work dragging on for eight months!  Was it all necessary?  It certainly wasn't in the past.

It really is time it was investigated—and certainly not by CaRT. Whose own investigation into the failure at Toddbrook Reservoir was thrown-out by the official enquiry and the trust blamed for 'lack of checks and inspection' notwithstanding its many excuses.

That particular repair of Toddbrook, it has been estimated, will cost around £14m by the trust's contractors, yet surprisingly was not even put out to tender!  It failed way back in 2019—and we are still waiting...

It's their choice

The woke warriors are complaining that we must not call ladies 'chairman' they should be called 'chair' and we must correct it immediately!

This relates to Christine Palin, who describes herself as Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal in a recent feature in narrowboatworld concerning its triathlon.

But alas, for them, there is also Sally Schupke who always describes herself Wey & Arun Canal Trust Chairman—that of course she is.

Our Thomas believes that the modern trend of describing a chairman as 'Chair' is ridiculous, it pandering to those people who want to change our ways to fit in with their own silly thinking.  Needless to say he is not doing as they want...

Will we make it?

That is definitely the question.  For next week-end we are off on our usual two weeks Spring cruise.

We were going to attempt the Leicester Ring again, but with so many unmaintained locks on the Leicester Section (we were stuck last time we ventured) and they being rather heavy broad locks and our Thomas getting on a bit and Jan a couple of months ago having a horse fall on her breaking eight ribs, we thought narrow locks would be more favourable under the circumstances!

So it looks like being the Coventry and the Ashby again in the hope that the Atherstone Flight can hold together long enough for us to get through and back.

And there's the possibility of a meeting with our Keith Gudgin, and the opportunity to talk over how well CaRT is doing its job in maintaining the system in such good condition!  Eh?

Victor Swift